Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hurricanes on the French Riviera?

What do we know as the conditions for generating a hurricane? Warm sea surface temperatures and atmospheric instability are two essential elements.

Well guess what? According to a story distributed by Reuters, some European scientists are warning that the Mediterranean Sea could join the Carribean as a region threatened by major storms.

"This is the first study to detect this possibility," lead researcher Miguel Angel Gaertner of the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Toledo, Spain, told Reuters on Monday.

"Most models in our study show increasing storm intensity and if you combine this with rising sea levels, as are projected, this could be damaging for many coastal settlements."

Historically, hurricanes have formed in the North Atlantic and, more rarely, in the North Pacific, and have been confined to tropical latitudes. We're all accustomed to hurricanes hitting Florida, the islands and coastlines of the Carribean and the Gulf Coast. Occasionally, we've seen hurricanes wandering up the Eastern Seaboard. But the story recounts some recent anomalies such as Hurricane Catarina, which formed in the South Atlantic and struck southern Brazil, and Hurricane Vince, which formed next to the Madeira Islands and became the first to make landfall in Spain.

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